Three Small Steps for Walking by Faith

Twenty-three Decembers ago, my husband, our one-year-old son, and I moved to Pella, Iowa. When we were still in the shall-we-or-shall-we-not phase of the process, my dad mentioned that he thought that bald eagles wintered in that area. In a word, I was shocked. I’d grown up a mere hour-and-a-half from Pella and never, not once, had we gone to see these eagles. And we were that family, the one that pulled over on the side of the road to gawk at eagles—whether they were soaring in the sky or perched on an electrical pole. So, of course, a couple {Continue Reading}

Do You Need to Turn Around?

It was one of the first hikes we took together, my husband and I. It wasn’t long—only a few miles, but the one stretch was steep. The descent wasn’t bad. The destination—a steel suspension bridge spanning a canyon in the middle of wilderness—was worth the trip down and even back up. Still, that thigh-burning return trip reigns in my memory, especially when we consider taking any trail with the word “steep” in its description. Draped across the slope like twinkle lights on a Christmas tree, switchbacks supposedly moderated the mountain face into a more manageable grade. I trudged up one {Continue Reading}

Pondering Life Outside Challenge

According to C.S. Lewis, “No man would find an abiding strangeness on the Moon unless he were the sort of man who could find it in his own back garden.” My grandma began schooling me in the wonders of the back garden early, when I was just a little girl.  Among the things I looked forward to at her house were breakfasting on bananas in milk, picnicking at what I believed to be the world’s biggest park, and rocking together in front of her picture window at day’s end. What I anticipated most, though, were the looking walks. They began {Continue Reading}

Winter Gifts and Graces

Regardless of what the thermometer reads today or tomorrow or next week, winter is winding down. I’ll just repeat that, mostly because I need the reassurance. Winter is winding down. I need the reassurance because I believe something that isn’t true: Everything will last forever. Whether it’s the balmy breezes of a green spring that will be taken over by the thousand percent humidity of high summer or the crisp afternoons of a colorful autumn that will fade into the bone-brittling subzero temperatures of deep winter, every season eventually ends. Because I find hope and help in the cycle of the {Continue Reading}

Beginning Again

Oh, I have something special to share with you today: a guest post from one of my favorite writers on the internet: Tresta Payne. I was encouraged and challenged by what she’s offered here, and I hope you will be, as well. All creation groans for a new beginning, and here we have January–the clean slate of new calendars and new planners and new expectations. The two-week period after Christmas, when we take down the tree, pack away the Christmas decor, give everything a good cleaning and prepare for a new year, is my favorite. Often my own groanings are {Continue Reading}

Fall Notes

Fall is traditionally my favorite season. Its crisp leaves and cool air combine to make it a time I want to linger on indefinitely. This one is half-gone and I’ve kind of missed it. At least that’s what I thought before I took a look back. I haven’t missed anything. There’s been life and learning, grace and every kind of good gift. I just needed to turn around and open my eyes. A regular recounting of the gifts and graces, the lessons and the stuff of life keeps me a little more light-hearted and grateful than when I move through {Continue Reading}

Summer Notes

Seasons–the days, the weeks, and even the months they are made of–are easy things for me to give away. I saw this tendency when my son and daughters were small and I referred to them as the age they would be on their next birthday rather than the one they were in that moment. I see it more often than I’d like, when I give away bits of a day that had stretched into the distance like our straight gravel road to things that don’t matter. And with a month of summer still left, I struggle not to feel like it’s already {Continue Reading}

Embracing a Big Summer {& a Giveaway}

While the rest of the world waited for February 2 and  Punxsutawney Phil to declare just how many more weeks winter would hold on, I looked to February 1. That was the date I allowed myself to count the days until my kids would be done with school and off on summer break so we could all be home together and do summer things. The key words in that sentence are home and do, because one always seemed to exclude the other and I ended up fragmented and frustrated in my approach to life. The kids are older now and so am I. More {Continue Reading}

When the Mind Won’t Stop {5 Ideas That Might Help}

There you are, on the couch with your kids, in the stands at the game, at the coffee shop with a friend. You’re sitting. You’re supporting. You’re socializing. But you haven’t stopped. You’ve pushed pause. Your body is still, at least enough to watch and cheer and talk, but your mind is running. Writing a grocery list. Rehashing a conversation. Remembering the mountain of laundry waiting at home for a reboot. What’s to be done with a mind that resists the pause button, a mind that won’t stop? Set it. Set its direction. Set is tone. Set its limits. Set {Continue Reading}